Press Release

September 2007

Mentored Hunts to Highlight Fish & Game Breakfast

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will kick off a great hunting season by inviting outdoor enthusiasts to a Sportsmen's Breakfast Meeting beginning at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 2, at the Fish and Game office, 3316 16th Street in Lewiston.

"We will provide a great Dutch oven breakfast and a very informative meeting," said Dave Cadwallader, Clearwater regional supervisor. "We will highlight the many opportunities that people can help in passing on the hunting tradition to future generations."

Mentors are needed for the Clearwater Region's new Youth Mentored Hunt Program, a partnership between Fish and Game and Pheasants Forever. The goal is to provide any youth a season long opportunity to go hunting with a trained and qualified adult mentor. Fish and Game hopes to focus on upland bird hunting opportunities this fall, with expansion into other hunting opportunities in the near future.

"There are plenty of opportunities to get involved - from mentoring new hunters to helping teach hunter education courses," Cadwallader said. "Extra efforts are need to attract today's youth to the marvelous sport of hunting, so we hope to visit with as many people as we can."

Forecasts for the fall steelhead, big game, upland bird seasons, as well as significant enforcement activities will also be presented.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in wildlife and is designed to stimulate informal discussion about wildlife issues in the Clearwater Region.

The meeting will run until 8:30 a.m., with several Dutch oven dishes and coffee provided.

Ask the Conservation Officer (CO)

By Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "At the Twin Falls County Fair I talked with a fellow at the Fish and Game booth about volunteering to help with some wildlife projects. I didn't get my name on the list but I would like to add my name now. How do I volunteer for some of the upcoming projects?"

Answer: The Department is frequently involved in projects that require lots of help. We usually obtain this help from dedicated people who volunteer their time and energy. Some of the volunteers are associated with organized sporting groups, however many volunteers are unaffiliated and just feel obligated to do something to help wildlife.

One our big projects on the horizon is collection of seed of native range plants for rehabilitation of recently burned wildlife habitats. The Department cooperates with the B.L.M. and U.S. Forest Service to obtain seed from native species on public land and assist with labor for planting or drilling.

Another Department volunteer program utilizes volunteers to teach prospective young hunters in the mandatory hunter education program.

If the public is interested in volunteering for any wildlife projects contact the Magic Valley region's volunteer coordinator Ed Papenberg or the hunter education coordinator Clayton Nielson at the address or phone number below.

If you have any further questions you may call the Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208)324-4350 or e-mail us at the Fish and Game web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt September 29 and 30

Youth hunters between the ages of 10 to 15 can get an early shot at a duck or goose by participating in the youth waterfowl hunt on September 29 and 30.

The rules for the youth hunt are simple. The hunters must have a valid hunting license, including the migratory bird validation. They also must be accompanied by a licensed adult 18 years old or older while hunting.

They do not need a federal duck stamp, but non-toxic shot is required.

The goal of the program is to give youths an opportunity to hunt waterfowl before they are disturbed by hunters during the general season. It's a great opportunity to get them out hunting without the pressures surrounding the general opener.

Bag limits for ducks and geese will remain the same as for the general season. Hunters are allowed to harvest seven ducks, but can include no more than: two canvasback, one pintail, two redheads, two mallard hens or three scaups. They can also harvest four geese.

Hunters opting to hunt on private land are reminded to ask first before hunting.

For more information on the youth waterfowl hunt, call 208-324-4359.

Fish and Game Seeks Help Solving Turkey Poaching

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information about the illegal killing and waste of a wild turkey found in the Waha-area, near Lewiston, the afternoon of Tuesday, September 18.

A white male in his mid-20s was seen driving a newer model white, full-size pickup truck in the area at the time. This person of interest was wearing a white baseball cap with a bobcat logo, and had a younger daughter in a car seat.

Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact the Fish and Game office in Lewiston at 208-799-5010, the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999, or any law enforcement agency.

Callers may remain anonymous, and cash rewards are available if the information results in a citation or a warrant to be issued. A conviction is not necessary.

Fish and Game Captures Yearling Black Bear in Boise

Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists Wednesday afternoon, successfully captured a yearling black bear at East Junior High School in Boise.

The bear, about 18 months old and about 50 pounds, had been chased up a tree by residents of an apartment building west of the school. Boise police officers and school officials helped keep him treed until help arrived - first the fire department and then Fish and Game biologists Steve Nadeau, the agency's large carnivore coordinator, and wildlife biologist Jon Rachael.

With police officers and firemen holding tarps, Rachael was able to jab the treed bear with a hypodermic pole. A few minutes later the groggy bear fell from the tree partly onto the tarp and Nadeau's waiting arms.

After a quick check up to make sure the bear was healthy, Rachael took it into the Boise Mountains and let it go.

The bear captured Wednesday, born a year ago last spring, probably had been kicked out on its own by its mother in July.

The afternoon capture marked the 16th bear Rachael and southwest Idaho Fish and Game biologists have captured in the past month. Across the state, biologists have gotten more than an average number of calls about bears.

Biologists say drought has affected the food supplies for bears, pushing them into town to find food to fatten up for the winter.

Public Shooting Available at Black's Creek Rifle Range

With the general hunting season fast approaching, many hunters are scurrying to make preparations necessary for a successful hunt.

Now is the time to reintroduce yourself to your firearm and get out to the range to practice.

Black's Creek Public Rifle Range is the place to do both.

"It's a great place to shoot," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "Black's Creek offers a controlled, safe environment for all types of shooters and at a cost of $7 per shooter for an entire day, it's a real bargain."

Through the end of September, Black's Creek is open every day except Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check the range website at http://www.blackscreekrange.com for more information and driving directions or call 342-9614.

Fish and Game Plans Hunter Ed Field Day

The Salmon Region of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled a field day on Saturday, September 29, for youth and adults who have completed the workbook or on-line Hunter Education course.

Students will meet at 9 a.m. at the Salmon office, 99 U.S. Highway 93 North, where they will learn more about safety, hunter ethics, wildlife management and Idaho hunting rules. The class will move to the Lemhi County Rifle Range at 1 p.m. for a live-fire exercise.

Registration is required for the field day, and the cost is $8. An on-line certificate or home study workbook must be presented to the instructor at the beginning of the class. Please bring student social security numbers.

Individuals with disabilities may contact the Fish and Game office at 208-756-2271 or the Idaho relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD) to request accommodations.

Fish and Game to Host Youth Shotgun Skills Clinic

Idaho Fish and Game staff will host a youth shotgun skills clinic on Saturday, October 6.

Youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 who have completed a hunter education course are eligible to participate. Parents/guardians should plan to attend.

The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Black's Creek Public Rifle Range east of Boise, with shotguns, ammunition, eye and ear protection and lunch provided. Participation is free, but the clinic is limited to the first 12 registrants.

"With waterfowl and upland bird seasons set to open, now is the time for youngsters to get some formal training in how to shoot a shotgun," Fish and Game wildlife educator Dan Papp said. "This clinic will give participants the tools they need to be better marksmen in the field."

To register, contact Papp at Fish and Game's Nampa office at 208-465-8465.

Deadline to register is September 28.

Mountain Goats Find New Home in Idaho

Eighteen mountain goats were released in the Haynes Creek drainage, about 15 miles southeast of Salmon, Wednesday, September 12.

Five more animals were released Thursday.

"Mountain goats are native to Idaho," said Dale Toweill, Idaho Fish and Game's mountain goat program supervisor. "Projects to re-establish herds where they previously existed will allow more Idahoans to enjoy these unique animals."

No mountain goats live in the immediate area of the Idaho release site. Idaho Fish and Game personnel hope the animals transplanted, primarily young female mountain goats, will form the nucleus of a new herd.

The mountain goats were captured in southern Utah's Tushar Mountains near Beaver. The capture was supervised by personnel of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The Tushar Mountain herd, begun with animals transplanted from Utah's Wasatch Range in 1986 and supplemented with additional animals removed from Washington's Olympic Peninsula in 1988, has been growing rapidly and is larger than management objectives for the area.

The project was a cooperative venture between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Utah Division of Wildlife and has been planned since 2004.

The Idaho transplant was conducted under the supervision of Tom Keegan, wildlife manager in Salmon. Each mountain goat was captured using a special net fired over the animal, entangling it so that workers could blindfold and hobble the animal.

Goats were then flown to a central processing area, where every animal was subjected to a thorough veterinary examination, inoculated and individually marked. Marks included ear tags and radio-transmitter collars that will allow biologists to track the movements of mountain goats in their new home.

Keep Idaho Bears Wild

By Brian Johnson, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

The young male grizzly's thick coat shimmered in the morning sunlight.

Fat is fit for a bear, and this bear was very, very fit. Unfortunately, this bear had grown fit on an artificial diet of corn and black sunflower seeds put out by a landowner for the deer and the birds.

He had lost his natural fear of humans, and worse yet, he associated food with humans. Consequently, he found himself bouncing down a dusty road in my culvert trap and was soon sporting a brand new radio tracking collar, an ear tag, and the dubious label of being a "nuisance bear" that locals had named "Indy".

My love of bears started when I was 10 years old. It was 1969, and my family was on vacation in our nation's premier national park - Yellowstone. We were all thrilled to see dozens of bears lined up alongside the roads panhandling for food. I clearly remember my brother and me throwing marshmallows and cookies to the hungry bears who obviously relished the tasty treats. At the time, the Park Service actually allowed public viewings of the bears at open garbage dumps and had bleachers available for prime bear watching.

During the 1970s, however, the Park Service closed the dumps and banned feeding. A growing body of scientific evidence indicated that allowing bears to get human food was the worst thing that could happen to a wild bear.

Though bear attacks on humans are rare, a bear that has lost its natural fear of humans and associates humans with food is actually far more likely than wild bears to attack and injure or kill people. Most of the time when a bear becomes a nuisance, however, it is the bear who winds up the loser.

Conservation officers must either trap and relocate the bear or euthanize the offender. Therefore, the goal of all bear managers today is to keep bears on a natural diet and away from people.

Upland Game Hunter Opinion Survey

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is working on a new, long-term management plan for upland game.

As part of that effort, Fish and Game would like hunters to participate in an on-line survey on small game management.

This survey is limited to small game and includes chukar, pheasant, quail, gray partridge, forest grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, sage-grouse, turkey, mourning dove, rabbits and hares. Understanding the experiences and wants of small game hunters and hunters who do not hunt small game is important to future management of small game in Idaho.

"It is also important to the department to understand why approximately 78 percent of the resident hunting license buyers do not hunt small game," state small game biologist Don Kemner said. "If you do not hunt small game, we still want you to fill out the survey."

The survey is available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/.

Hunters may provide additional comments or recommendations for small game management in the blank area at the end of the survey. Answers and comments are valuable for the direction of small game management in Idaho.

Comment Sought on Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Plan

A draft management plan for conservation of Bonneville cutthroat trout in Idaho is now available for public review and comment.

The purpose of the draft plan is to review relevant biology, describe current status, identify potential factors affecting status, and provide a prioritized list of strategies that will conserve native Bonneville cutthroat trout in Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment on the plan, available at the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/, by October 19.

The historic range of Bonneville cutthroat trout covers parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. About 14 percent, or 899 miles, of the historical river and stream habitat occurs in Idaho. In Idaho, Bonneville cutthroat trout occupy an estimated 63 percent, or 565 miles, of the historically available river and stream habitat.

Bonneville cutthroat trout status for the remaining Idaho streams was classified as 30 percent unknown, 6 percent extirpated, and 1 percent non-fish bearing.

Conservation strategies focus on preserving genetic integrity, reducing impacts of non-native fish, improving degraded habitat, and enhancing self-sustaining populations. The report concludes with an action plan of prioritized conservation measures that will contribute to the long-term persistence and enhancement of Bonneville cutthroat trout populations in Idaho.

For information or a copy of the plan, contact Scott A. Grunder, native species coordinator, by phone at 208-287-2774 or fax at 208-334-2114, or by e-mail at sgrunder@idfg.idaho.gov.